Wendell Potter, former Vice President of Communications at CIGNA, made national headlines in 2009 when he testified before a Senate panel, disclosing how profit-driven insurance companies engage in practices forcing millions of Americans into under-insured or uninsured status.
Since then he has worked tirelessly as an outspoken critic of corporate PR and the distortion and fear manufactured by the wealthy health insurance industry. It is a PR juggernaut that is bankrolled by millions of dollars, rivaling lobbying budgets and underwriting many “non-partisan” and “grassroots” organizations. His book, Deadly Spin, is not just an expose of health insurers but a stark warning that corporate spin is distorting our democracy.
Wendell is currently a senior analyst at the The Center for Public Integrity, a non-partisan nonprofit that produces original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern; the senior fellow on health care for the Center for Media and Democracy, an independent, non-partisan public interest organization; and speaks out on both the need for a fundamental overhaul of the American health care system and on the dangers to American democracy and society of the decline of the media as watchdog, which has contributed to the growing and increasingly unchecked influence of corporate PR. He also serves as a consumer liaison representative for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
In widely covered testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science and Technology Committee in June of 2009, Wendell disclosed how insurance companies, as part of their efforts to boost profits, have engaged in practices that have resulted in millions of Americans being forced into the ranks of the uninsured. Wendell also described how the insurance industry has developed and implemented strategic communications plans, based on deceptive public relations, advertising and lobbying efforts, to defeat reform initiatives.
Since then Wendell has testified before two House committees, briefed several members of Congress and their staffs, appeared with members of Congress at several press conferences, spoken at more than 100 public forums, and has been the subject of numerous articles in the U.S. and foreign media.